So, I feel really interested in the things nature has to offer. One of the most amazing creations of nature itself is the mushroom. Now, as I got more and more interested, I started to want to learn more and more about wild edibles. My overall favorites are the Morel and Chanterelle, and today I will be teaching you about the Chanterelle. These Mushrooms are far better than any Mushroom in store and are so fun to find. They also grow in pretty much every region. This is why I am so excited to share my knowledge with you.
Step 1: The Characteristics of the Chanterelle
So, a Chanterelle is very unique. It is probably the most popular edible mushroom in the world, and I can tell you from experience, that it is delicious. Although, there are two types that you would want to look for. One is just called a Chanterelle and one is called a Smooth Chanterelle.
Season: Late June-Early August
Characteristics: Chanterelles are Yellow to Orange on top and the underside has firm ridges and is white. This mushroom grows directly from the ground.
Season: Late June-Early August
Characteristics: Smooth Chanterelles are Yellow to orange on top and the underside is almost completely smooth and all white. This mushroom grows directly out of the ground.
Note: You may find some chanterelles, as seen above in the picture, that sometimes the Chanterelles have gotten kind of old. However, this is not bad to eat, as long as it looks like the Mushroom has not gotten older than the one seen above.
Step 2: Where to Find Chanterelles and Other Tips
You can never pinpoint where chanterelles will be, there are a few things that you can look for.
1. Chanterelles like to grow in areas that have a lot of organic matter on the ground, such as leaf litter or best of all a lot of humus. Although, they can also grow in grass or on paths. If you don't know, humus is a perfect mixture of organic matter, clay, sand, air, and water.
2. Probably most important is that there should be indirect sunlight. In other words they aren't getting direct sun and aren't getting full shade.
3. They tend to like to grow next to trees like Birch, Maple, and Oak, but they can grow next to others too.
1. The best time to take the time to look for chanterelles is when it has been raining for a few days and then gets sunny.
2. Chanterelles have spores, not seeds. They spread from the mushroom as it dies, not before. This should tell you two things. One, you can almost always come back to a place where you found Chanterelles year after year. Two, for this to happen you have to leave a few chanterelles so that they can spread their spores and reproduce. Therefore, you should leave about half of the mushrooms that you find.
3. So that you track less dirt with you and the mushrooms, always pinch the mushroom stem off close to the ground instead of pulling.
4. Chanterelles are delicious. Not only to us, but to insects too. So, you should always collect chanterelles into a basket because these bugs will leave when the mushrooms are separated from the mushrooms underground mycelia part (kind of like a plant's roots).
Step 3: Dangers
When foraging for mushrooms in the wild, there are always a few dangers. Some mushrooms look alike, and although there are always many, many differences, you always need to make sure of what mushroom you have. For example, there is one mushroom that slightly resembles the Chanterelle. It's called the Jack'OLantern Mushroom. It is poisonous and can cause extreme discomfort, but is not deadly. So, I will tell you the differences between the two. However, don't be afraid, it is easy to distinguish from Chanterelles.
Jack O'Lantern Mushroom's first of all, grow in clusters and at the base of things such as stumps, logs, and deciduous wood.
This mushroom instead of having ridges or being smooth on the underside of the cap like Chanterelles have gills that can be easily identified by moving your finger along them. If you can move the gills, as if they were pages in a book, then the mushroom is definitely NOT a Chanterelle.
Finally, something that is actually pretty cool about the Jack O'Lantern Mushroom is that when put in the dark, it actually glows. This is because the Mushrooms gills are bioluminescent (glow in the dark).
Step 4: Cooking and Cleaning Chanterelles
When you get home, there are bound to be two things in your mushrooms that you are not thrilled about. One, Bugs. Two, dirt.
Once the bugs realize that you have taken the Chanterelles, they will want to clear out. So, the best way to do this is to, if it won't rain, put the chanterelles outside in a basket, and the bugs should have cleared out and moved on by morning.
Second, the way to rid Chanterelles of dirt is not with water but with a small brush such as a toothbrush. You should take the toothbrush and gently brush off the dirt from the chanterelles until clean. The reason you should not use water is it makes the chanterelles loose flavor and feel gummy. Also, don't think using salt water to rid the mushrooms of bugs is a good idea, it does the same thing.
The way I see best fit to cook chanterelles is to do something simple, like make them a side dish. First, you must cut the mushrooms in half, and then into strips. What I do is Sauté them with butter, and you could also add a hint of garlic if you want to. Another thing I did was make Bacon and Chanterelle Quesadillas. However, there are many other ideas in existence.
Step 5: Storing Chanterelles
So, if you're lucky, you'll have a large haul of mushrooms. However, how in the world might you eat them all before they go bad? The answer is, you don't have to. So, first of all, chanterelles will keep for quite a while in the fridge, but they will not last forever. You'll have to do something about that.
1. Put the Chanterelles all in a bag and freeze them in the freezer. It's quite simple. In fact, it's quite easy.
2. Another thing that people have done is dry them out in the sun. They will keep for pretty much forever, and they later rehydrate them in water, which has a different effect than when you wash them
Step 6: Thanks
So, although I know a lot about Chanterelles, and have hunted and cooked them for myself, there were a few things that I had to learn while making this. I already knew what Chanterelles looked like, but for your safety, I had to find the information about the Jack O'Lantern Mushroom from an entirely different source.
This, and I give many thanks to this book because it has taught me a lot and helped me with a few things I had yet to know while writing this, is a book called Missouri's Wild Mushrooms by Maxine Stone. She is an amazing mushroom specialist that I got a chance to forage with earlier this year. However, before you go and get your Chanterelle craze on and get hunting, I have one more thing to tell you.
If you are interested in mushrooms, then you might be surprised to know that there might be a Mycological (mushroom) organization near you. An example of this is near me there is a wonderful organization called Missouri Mycological Society that holds forays and has many learning opportunities for anyone that wishes to join.
I hope that you enjoyed my instructable! Thanks for reading this, and don't forget to favorite and subscribe!